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La Fheile Padraig This means Saint Patrick's day in Irish. Irish is the traditional language of Ireland. A saint it an important person in the Christian religion. Patrick is Ireland's saint. In Ireland we often call it Paddy’s Day because Paddy is a nickname for Patrick. Many people in Ireland are called Patrick or Paddy now.
What is Saint Patrick’s Day? Saint Patrick's Day is an Irish festival celebrated all over the world. Many Irish people have moved to new countries and today over 35 million people around the world call themselves Irish, especially in America, where the Irish were one of the largest immigrant groups. Cities like London, Sydney, York, Chicago, Boston and San Francisco had many Irish emigrants, especially in the police, politics, construction and the fire departments. These people celebrate being Irish on the 17th of March, and invite everybody else to be Irish for the day too with parades, music and parties.
Who was Saint Patrick? Saint Patrick was the patron saint of Ireland. He was the Bishop who converted the Irish from their old religions to the Christian religion in the 5th century AD. Today, almost everybody in Ireland is from a Christian tradition. Saint Patrick used a three leafed plant called shamrock to explain about the Christian god, now that plant is a famous symbol of Ireland. He was a British boy who was captured as a slave by Irish pirates. For many years he worked as a Shepard but then he escaped. After many years, when he became a bishop, he returned to Ireland to tell them about the Christian religion. There are many magical myths and stories about his time in Ireland.
Where is Ireland Ireland is a small island on the western edge of Europe. It is in the Atlantic Ocean separated by the Irish sea from Britain. There are only 5 million people now but in the past there were over 10 million, many have emigrated to live in other countries.
Today Ireland and the U.K. are two different countries. There are 32 counties in Ireland. 26 counties are part of an independent ‘Republic of Ireland’, but 6 counties in the north are still part of the ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’. The independent republic of Ireland speaks English but has it’s own government, army and laws. Instead of the Queen it has a president and instead of the pound it uses the euro.
The Leprechaun is a famous symbol of Ireland. These little magical men were cheeky and mischievous. The liked trouble, but if you caught one, he had to give you a pot of gold, usually found under a rainbow. But be careful, if you didn’t look at him, he could disappear. Irish mythology is full of many funny and scary creatures and legends.
Irish History Ireland has a long history full of war, famine and emigration. In the past Ireland has been shaped by many people, Celts from Europe, Vikings from Scandinavia, Normans from France, Scots from Scotland and English from England. In the past Ireland was part of the UK and a colony of the British Empire, but after many years of war and unhappiness most of Ireland became an independent country in 1922. However the north of Ireland wanted to remain part of the the UK and there still are problems there.
What is Ireland like? Ireland is a beautiful and green land with lots of small villages, hills, mountains, beaches, valleys castles, bays and lovely towns and cities. The people are famous for being friendly, funny, musical and good at telling stories. In Ireland ‘the gift of the gab’ means that you can talk a lot. The land is described as the ‘Emerald Isle’ and having ‘forty shades of green. Ireland has two languages, English and Irish (Gaelic). Most Irish people can speak both, but usually speak English. Everybody must learn both in School. In some parts of Ireland, they only try and speak Irish. Some of the best writers in English were from Ireland. ‘Dia dhuit’ means hello.
Food and drinks Traditional Irish food includes a Big Irish breakfast, Brown Soda Bread, Irish Stew, Bacon & Cabbage, Milk, Butter, Cheese, Cream, Beef, Seafood and Potatoes, and drinks like Tea, Whiskey, Irish Coffee, Baileys and Guinness Stout (Black Beer) Whiskey was invented in Ireland and the word whiskey comes from ‘Uisce beatha’ (which means ‘water of life’ in the Irish language)
Irish Sports Irish people play many sports like soccer and rugby and but they also have some sports only played in Ireland, like Gaelic Football and Hurling. Ireland also produces some of the world’s best race horses Many top soccer players playing in Britain come form Ireland, as well as many Olympic athletes especially boxers. Some of the biggest surfing in the world is in Ireland
Irish Animals The Irish countryside is full of farms and animals. The typical farm animals are cows, sheep and pigs. In the wild there are deer, foxes, badgers, hares and other small animals.
Irish Weather Ireland is famous for it’s rainy weather, and in some parts there might be over 260 rainy days every year ‘Ta se ag cur baiste’ means ‘It’s raining’ in Irish. But it’s never very hot or very cold and there isn’t much snow.
Famous Irish People There have been many famous Irish people especially in Britain and America, where many soldiers, politicians, actors, musicians, writers and leaders have been Irish. But also in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South America, Spain and France. Today there are many Irish actors and musicians and even a famous President with Irish ancestors. Every time you see a name with Mac, or Mc or O’ in it you know they could have had Irish ancestors.
What about this one? Barack Obama is one of the latest American President’s who can trace his ancestors to Ireland. Others include Clinton, Kennedy, Nixon, and Reagan